Malaysia: More than 10 firms suspected of logging in Sabah's forest reserves

Avila Geraldine New Straits Times 18 Jul 18;

KOTA KINABALU: More than 10 companies are suspected of being involved in illegal logging in the state’s forest reserves.

During a recent operation, the Illegal Logging Crackdown Committee under the Chief Minister’s Department recorded 40,161 logs that it suspects were processed without paying the timber tax.

The massive crackdown, which started early this month, focused on the Sungai Pinangah Forest Reserve (Yayasan Sabah concession) in Tongod, Trusmadi Forest Reserve (Forest Management Unit 5) in Ranau, and Gunung Rara Forest Reserve (Yayasan Sabah concession) in Kalabakan.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said reports had been lodged with police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

“We believe these logging activities violate the provisions of the Forestry Enactment 1968,” he said.

“This is one of the measures taken to prevent our forestry resources from being exploited because, in certain areas, there were almost 20,000 abandoned logs without timber tax.

“The wood size is also doubtful and believed to have violated the provisions set by the Forestry and the logging activities also involved the cutting of protected belian trees.”

Mohd Shafie said he did not know how long the logging companies had been operating.

“For sure, the approval was not given by the current state government. However, I don’t want to make any assumptions.

“I hope people are mindful that we are very firm in insisting that action be taken against (the companies).”

Mohd Shafie urged logging companies operating in the state to comply with the logging licence requirement, Forestry Enactment 1968 provisions and Forestry Rules 1969.

At the moment, there are 9,300 logs at a sawmill and forest reserve in Tongod, 549 logs at a sawmill in Sandakan and 5,091 logs in forest reserves in Ranau.

In Kalabakan, 6,221 logs were discovered in the forest reserve and 19,000 logs were found at two sawmills.

On July 16, Mohd Shafie announced that the government had reactivated the Illegal Logging Crackdown Committee to strengthen enforcement to protect the state’s forestry resources.


GLCs among firms probed in forestry case
The Star 18 Jul 18;

KOTA KINABALU: Government-linked and public-listed companies are among more than 10 concessionaires investigated for breaching forestry laws in Sabah.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the companies were identified recently after he banned the export of timber in Sabah.

“Following this decision, we have reactivated a special task force to investigate illegal logging activities and have seized over 40,000 logs from various locations since then,” he said yesterday.

He said the logs were worth millions in taxes alone and were seized in Tongod, Sandakan, Ranau and Kalabakan between July 5 and 14.

Asked whether any politicians were involved in these companies, he said to wait for the outcome of the probe into the cases.

On whether Sabah Forestry Dep­artment director Datuk Sam Man­nan knew about the illegal activities, Mohd Shafie said he may have known since Mannan had been overseeing the industry for years.

More than 10 GLCs and PLCs investigated for breaching forestry laws in Sabah
stephanie lee The Star 18 Jul 18;

KOTA KINABALU: Government-linked and public-listed companies are among more than 10 concessionaires investigated for breaching Forestry laws in Sabah.

Chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (pic) said these companies were identified recently after he banned the export of timber in Sabah.

“Following this decision, we have activated a special task force to investigate illegal logging activities, and have since then seized over 40,000 logs from various locations,” he said during a press conference here Wednesday (July 18).

He said these logs, worth millions in taxes alone, were seized from forests and forest reserves in Tongod, Sandakan, Ranau, and Kalabakan in operations against illegal logging between July 5 and 14.

Shafie said they suspect that these companies have been conducting illegal logging and breaching laws, including logging protected trees, processing oversized trunks and evading logging tax for quite some time.

Asked whether he thinks politicians were involved in these companies, he said he "does not want to speculate", and to wait for the outcome of their probe into the cases.

He said police reports have been lodged, and it was only a matter of time they get answers.

“Action will be taken accordingly. We hope to solve illegal logging activities and forestry law breaching in Sabah,” he added.

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